Several new details are emerging from the Benghazi scandal that are sure to blow the entire scandal wide open. Just within the past 48 hours new revelations have come to light in the ongoing investigation.
After CNN found, revealed and returned slain ambassador Chris Stevens’ personal journal and after weeks went by and the FBI finally made it over to Benghazi to investigate, journalists were still locating sensitive State Department items in the burned out compound. Six weeks after the attack, Foreign Policy reports,
When we visited on Oct. 26 to prepare a story for Dubai based Al Aan TV, we found not only Stevens’ personal copy of the Aug. 6 New Yorker, lying on remnants of the bed in the safe room where Stevens spent his final hours, but several ash-strewn documents beneath rubble in the looted Tactical Operations Center, one of the four main buildings of the partially destroyed compound. Some of the documents — such as an email from Stevens to his political officer in Benghazi and a flight itinerary sent to Sean Smith, a U.S. diplomat slain in the attack — are clearly marked as State Department correspondence. Others are unsigned printouts of messages to local and national Libyan authorities. The two unsigned draft letters are both dated Sept. 11 and express strong fears about the security situation at the compound on what would turn out to be a tragic day. They also indicate that Stevens and his team had officially requested additional security at the Benghazi compound for his visit — and that they apparently did not feel it was being provided.
One letter, written on Sept. 11 and addressed to Mohamed Obeidi, the head of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ office in Benghazi, reads: “Finally, early this morning at 0643, September 11, 2012, one of our diligent guards made a troubling report. Near our main gate, a member of the police force was seen in the upper level of a building across from our compound. It is reported that this person was photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission and furthermore that this person was part of the police unit sent to protect the mission. The police car stationed where this event occurred was number 322.”
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported on a newly discovered cable indicating that the diplomatic post in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” concerned about local Al Qaeda training camps. She writes,
According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi … these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.’” Each U.S. mission has a so-called Emergency Action Committee that is responsible for security measures and emergency planning.
The details in the cable seemed to foreshadow the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.
In addition to describing the security situation in Benghazi as “trending negatively,” the cable said explicitly that the mission would ask for more help. “In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.”
As for specific threats against the U.S., the cable warned the intelligence was not clear on the issue, cautioning that the militias in Benghazi were not concerned with any significant retaliation from the Libyan government, which had apparently lost control in Benghazi. A briefer explained that they “did not have information suggesting that these entities were targeting Americans but did caveat that (there was not) a complete picture of their intentions yet. RSO (Regional Security Officer) noted that the Benghazi militias have become more brazen in their actions and have little fear of reprisal from the (government of Libya.)”
We already know that the CIA director has said that they had nothing to do with giving a stand down order for those on the ground in Benghazi. However, Defense officials aren’t going to take the heat for that either and they are pointing their fingers at the State Department. According to Eli Lake at the Daily Beast,
Military backup may have made a difference at around five the following morning, when a second wave of attackers assaulted the CIA annex where embassy personnel had taken refuge. It was during this second wave of attacks that two ex-SEALs working for the CIA’s security teams—Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods—were killed in a mortar strike.
Normally it would be the job of the U.S. ambassador on location to request a military response. But Stevens likely died in the first two hours of the attack. The responsibility for requesting military backup would then have fallen to the deputy chief of mission at Benghazi or officials at the State Department in Washington.
“The State Department is responsible for assessing security at its diplomatic installations and for requesting support from other government agencies if they need it,” a senior U.S. Defense official said. “There was no request from the Department of State to intervene militarily on the night of the attack.”
The president, however, would have the final say as to whether or not to send in the military.
So again, not only did CIA director Petraeus throw Obama under the bus by saying that the CIA didn’t give the order for special forces on the ground to stand down, but it seems the Defense Department is following the CIA director’s lead.
Finally, as if this weren’t enough, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says that Obama is anticipating results from the investigation, but is not actively participating in it. In statement on Thursday, Carney said, “He has not participated in the investigation. He is anticipating results that show us exactly what happened and who is responsible and what lessons we can learn from it and ensure it never happens again. He expects the investigation to be rigorous.”
This then led to this bombshell by CBS News:
CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG). “The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.” Information shared with CBS News from top counterterrorism sources in the government and military reveal keen frustration over the U.S. response on Sept. 11, the night ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed in a coordinated attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack … Another senior counter terrorism official says a hostage rescue team was alternately asked to get ready and then stand down throughout the night, as officials seemed unable to make up their minds. “The response process was isolated at the most senior level,” says an official referring to top officials in the executive branch. “My fellow counterterrorism professionals and I (were) not consulted.“
And we wonder why we are not getting information from the Obama administration. It seems obvious to me that there is a reason for it and it’s because they either were incompetent in the matter of they let it take place on purpose. Either way, there is absolutely no excuse for what took place in Benghazi and no excuse for what appears to be shaping up as a massive cover-up.
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